I almost had a poem as I drove home today, it was pretty dark really, fields of broken dreams, dredging up the past, kind of stuff. I thought I would start by throwing a few words on a line and then I realised I didn’t have the energy. Just too tired, physically, and emotionally for poetry right now. Don’t feel sorry for me please, I do that well enough for myself at times.
The phrase” pulling the plug” has been on my mind lately. pulling the plug means different things to people. I have been present when the plug has been pulled on life support machines. it is not as dramatic as that really, no-one pulls the plug, just a simple turning off off a machine, the the mechanical noises stop, no more beeping, release sometimes happens quickly for some it takes time it is different for every one I have seen.
Tonight I don’t want to talk about that I have seen death up close and personal enough. I am writing about different plug pulling here. I was reflecting over the weekend, I feel a little lost at the moment, job is possibly the biggest issue, nothing on the horizon, not sustainable anyway as for the moment I am stuck where I am for a number of reasons, unable to shift. I used to boast about my flexibility, if I didn’t have teaching work then there was always cooking, building, milking, driving mowing lawns, you name it I have done it or would have done it. But alas no more.
Since 1988 I have been fighting a narrative of pain in my life due to a back injury. I made concessions to it for a couple of years but came to a point where I just decided to do it anyway, my back would be sore regardless, I have carried on lifting etc over the years with very few concessions, unfortunately no more, lately the problems I have been having with my back have forced a radical rethink about my life. It is not just pain but physical symptoms that I cannot live with. Unfortunately there is at times when I think I cannot even teach anymore. The prospect of being defined by disability just eats at me in a way that is consuming and terrifying for me.
I have a plan to deal with it, one last shot with a different surgeon I will see what they have to say, I hope for an answer, but if not then it will be plan b. Plan b is not, don’t think it for one second giving up. I have pulled the plug on physical work, indeed if I get any worse it may be full-time work that I cannot cope with but I will not be defined by that which I cannot do. I have been defined by what the world (and at times myself) sees as failure, a broken marriage, broken relationships a constant battle for employment but I am not ready to pull the plug on that which I know to be true.
I am a father,writer, poet,mentor and friend. these things I hold to and have not failed at. The rest well it hurts at time, tears have been close for a while, I think a function of tiredness and pain and change, not much I can do right now about those narratives.
I am grateful for those friends and family who have and continue to support me. You can shake me if I am too morbid (or buy me wine or coffee), encourage me to have fun, don’t let me lift stupid things and understand me if I can’t or don’t do the physical things I used to do, I am not an invalid yet, I can’t walk very far,(I can cycle), I wont last the evening dancing and I am not up to concreting or digging holes anymore, but hopefully with what is left I can still support my friends and look after my family.
Well that is my day done, to those of you still up, sleep well, laugh loudly, and love abundantly.